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Chapter 1. Introduction > A Changing Marketplace

A Changing Marketplace

Knowing how to master stress has clearly become increasingly important in today's marketplace. To quote Bob Dylan, one of the premier songwriters and poets of the 1960s and 1970s, “The times they are a-changin'.” Just a generation ago it was reasonable for young people to assume that if they were responsible, dependable, and loyal to a company, the company would take care of them. They could expect to rise through the ranks to a management position and this would be their lifelong occupation. Now, in the era of downsizing, a company will employ you only for as long as you, or your position, are useful to it. And usefulness is typically defined in terms of the bottom line: Are you profitable?

On the other hand, rather than expecting perpetual loyalty, it is understood that you will stay with the company only for as long as it meets your needs in terms of salary, working conditions, and other fringe benefits. Those of you who follow sports might remember a time not so long ago when a player was drafted and stayed with that team throughout his playing years. This was, of course, changed by the advent of free agency. Now a player goes to the highest bidder or to the city that might afford him better business opportunities or living conditions. Well, the fact is that we are all now becoming free agents. In his 1996 State of the Union address to Congress, President Clinton stated that in the changing marketplace all Americans should consider themselves entrepreneurs who are clearly selling a product: themselves.


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